Nov 1, 2002
Press Release
Washington, DC - Today, Lawmakers called on New York Governor George Pataki to answer questions on the recent dramatic increase in approved Individual and Family Grant applications by the New York State Department of Labor. In a letter signed by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jose Serrano ( D -NY), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Ed Towns (D-NY), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), lawmakers asked the Governor to explain how the approval process has changed since early September, when the number of IFG grant applications being approved was dramatically low.
On September 5, 2002, only 7,322 IFG applications had been approved. On October 18, 2002, approvals jumped to 55,135, and just six days later, on October 24, 2002, FEMA reported that 84,583 applications had been approved. These dramatic increases directly coincide with the caveat the agency began adding of "approved pending receipts" on applications.

Excerpt from the letter:

"If these statistics are accurate, they reflect vast improvements in the IFG program, your staff at the N.Y.S. Department of Labor should be commended for fixing a huge problem quickly and addressing the concerns of New Yorkers who needed assistance after 9/11. However, if these statistics are the result of new reporting criteria designed to mask problems in the program, then that would be extremely disheartening."

"It seems that the New York State Department of Labor is using Enron accounting to report on how they are taking care of New Yorkers who need help after 9/11, and that is sad. "said Representative Carolyn B. Maloney. " I expect that today's City Council Hearing on the I..FG. and M.R.A. programs will show that the vast majority of the 60,000 New Yorkers in this new category would be surprised to hear that they have in fact been 'approved'."

In addition to questioning the data, the letter inquires about what outreach efforts are being made by the state, and also asks what Governor Pataki is doing about extending the I.F.G. application deadline, something he requested of the Bush Administration after members of the NY delegation brought complications to his attention in September. His request was later denied by the Administration.
The letter can be viewed in its entirety by going to:

Rep. Maloney will be testifying today on this issue at a New York City Council Hearing, 1 PM at City Hall.